Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Saving Sand: South Carolina Beaches Become a Model for Preservation

26.10.2009
While most people head to Myrtle Beach for vacation, a group of scientists have been hitting the famous South Carolina beach for years to figure out how to keep the sand from washing away.

Although they studied only a limited segment of beach, their work is a model for beach preservation that can apply elsewhere. And with talk of “balancing the sand budget” and money saved on restoration, their findings sound financial.

The study will be presented to scientists from around the world at the International Geological Programs Annual Conference, Oct. 25 to 31 in Myrtle Beach.

“Effective beach preservation requires knowing the beach’s sand budget and understanding the geology that constrains it,” said U.S. Geological Survey lead scientist Walter Barnhardt. “It takes a systematic approach and strong partnerships at all levels of government with neighborhood associations and universities to keep a beach from simply washing away.”

The main objective of this 7-year study, done in cooperation with the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium, was to improve projections of coastal change by determining the geologic features and ocean processes that control sediment movement along the coast.

“As a result of this work, we were able to identify offshore sand sources that could be used for future beach replenishment without causing a bigger erosion problem elsewhere,” said Barnhardt.

Controlling beach erosion will likely become more difficult as a result of climate change with its attendant sea-level rise and increase in the number and intensity of storms. This is particularly true in places like South Carolina that have a broad, low-elevation coast and a sand shortage.

“The comprehensive nature of this study -- considering the geologic framework, behavior and driving processes regionally -- has resulted in a remarkable baseline for better managing our beach and near- shore resources,” said Paul Gayes, Director of Coastal Carolina University’s Center for Marine and Wetland Studies.

“From inventory of potential future beach nourishment sand resources, to distribution of important hardbottom fish habitat, to models of beach behavior, this study forms the starting point for many present and future efforts. This work is regularly cited as a model approach and result for similar studies and efforts around the country,” said Gayes.

For this study, scientists examined land and marine environments in a 62-mile-long segment of South Carolina’s coast. The swath extends more than 3 miles inland and 6 miles seaward. They tracked waves and sand movement, drilled cores, mapped the topography and geology onshore and offshore, and monitored coastal change.

Key Findings:
Sand is a scarce resource near Myrtle Beach
The beaches are thin ribbons of sand that sit on top of sedimentary rocks. They receive little or no sand from nearby rivers.

Offshore, there is little sand to wash ashore and replenish the beach. Large expanses offshore are exposed as hard grounds that are locally overlain by sand less than 3 feet thick.

Sand is transported primarily from northeast to southwest in the area. Large sand deposits have accumulated seaward of Murrell’s Inlet and Winyah Bay, SC. These and other sand deposits could serve as offshore sources of beach nourishment in the future.

Effective beach management requires a regional, systematic effort to
understand the geology and how it constrains sand supplies and sand movement,
determine patterns of shoreline change by surveying beaches at regular intervals over several years and identify ocean processes that drive coastal erosion.

A detailed record of coastal change provides guidance for land use and a rationale for development decisions such as determining setbacks necessary to protect property.

Climate change will affect many beaches; low elevation beaches are vulnerable over greater inland areas.

Coastal Change Along the Coast of Northeastern South Carolina – The South Carolina Coastal Erosion Study (USGS Circular 1339), is available online. Printed copies are available from the USGS Store (Product #222905)

The USGS conducts regional multidisciplinary studies of coastal erosion to provide impartial scientific information necessary for the protection and management of valuable coastal resources.

Walter Barnhardt | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.usgs.gov

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Global study of world's beaches shows threat to protected areas
19.07.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht NSF-supported researchers to present new results on hurricanes and other extreme events
19.07.2018 | National Science Foundation

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Global study of world's beaches shows threat to protected areas

19.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

New creepy, crawly search and rescue robot developed at Ben-Gurion U

19.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Metal too 'gummy' to cut? Draw on it with a Sharpie or glue stick, science says

19.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>